I spent most of my time outdoors today thinning the peach tree. I haven’t finished the entire tree. There are sections near the two hives I made from swarms I caught this season that haven’t been thinned much for obvious reasons: standing in the flight path of a beehive is a great way to get stung a lot.
From what I have read on the subject, after thinning, I should have about one peach every six to eight inches. Doing this will result in larger fruit and sweeter fruit as the tree puts the same about of energy and sugars into a smaller set of fruits. While thinning, I realized that my peach tree set a very large number of fruit. In some places I had to remove upwards of eight fruit on a six-inch stretch of branch.
The most difficult section to try to thin is the top of the tree. I think I will be pruning the tree to shorten it a bit so that I don’t have this problem again next year. I’ve been climbing the tree and using a ladder to get to the fruit at the top, but there are still fruit that I can’t reach.
The two swarms I have caught are still around. The first swarm I captured was very small and has started having problems with bees coming an robbing it. I’ve reduced the entrance to about two inches and covered the remaining opening with grass clippings. This hasn’t completely deterred the robber bees rom coming, but it does make it easier for the hive to defend itself from the thieves.
I am going to attempt to make some hive equipment for the new hives. There are a lots of wood scraps I can use for the effort and I have access to a table saw, a compound miter saw, and a router. BeeSource.com has plans to make Dadant type frames. I have an idea of what I can do for the hive body, but it will mostly come down to making a box that can hold the frames I make.